Book Log

Currently reading…

  • The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Michael Pollan
  • This I Believe, Jay Allison and Dan Gediman
  • The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell

July 2009

6. Long Walk to Freedom, Nelson Mandela
5 Stars
“For any man or institution that tries to rob me of my dignity will ose because I will not part with it at any price or under any pressure.” Written during his more than 2 decades of imprisonment, Nelson Mandela retells his life story from childhood to the beginning of his presidency. Long Walk to Freedom provides a glimpse into the development of the mind and the character of a freedom fighter, of a farmer’s son who becomes a lawyer, a prisoner who becomes a president. I’ve rated several books highly, but this blows them all away.
5. Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe
3 Stars
I read this on bus rides through Kenya and I’m afraid my opinion is going to be quite unpopular: I didn’t like it. This books is perhaps of geographic and historic significance, but as a piece of literature I was underwhelmed. The story is catching, but poorly written, repetitive, and simplistic. Nonetheless, Achebe does provide a valuable Nigerian perspective of life before at the dawn of colonialism. It gave some context to my travels and I’m surprised about the number of mental images that this book formed that still remain in my head. Consider this if you are traveling to this part of the world, but I would definitely look for some other books as well.
4. The Wisdom of Crowds, James Surowiecki
5 Stars
Excellent. The description is coming…

June 2009

3. we_wish_to_inform
We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families: Stories from Rwanda, Philip Gourevitch
5 Stars
800,000 people slaughtered in under 100 days, the most efficient genocide ever. Gourevitch weaves together personal stories of the atrocity, exposes the complacency of the Western world and the complicity of France, Belgium, and Zaire, illustrates the ignorance of the development community, while praising the efforts of a few, including Rwanda President Kagame, Uganda President Musevina, Paul Rusesabagina, and Lt. Gen. Dallaire. Gourevitch offers astonishing insight into what drove a million Hutus to massacre nearly a million of their Tutsi neighbors–and any Hutu that stood in their way–and the complex political and social environment of attempting to rebuild a country recovering from genocide.
2. Think Big Manifesto
The Think Big Manifesto, Michael Port
3 Stars
Do more with less and revolutionize the world at the same time; not a unique story and a little propogandistic, but great if you use it as a brainstorming tool.
1. Heart of Darkness
Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad
5 Stars
Excellent. In a way, it’s the embodiment of Ayn Rand’s philosophy in midst of a tail of an African expedition.

May 2009

  • I Will Teach You To Be Rich, Ramit Sethi – worthless; do not waste your time! I read this due to Tim Ferriss’ recommendation, but it is nothing more than a regurgitation of 20 other books; read The Automatic Millionaire instead, it is far better [*]

January 2009

  • The Successful Investor, William J. O’Neil, founder of Investor’s Business Daily – highly recommended; how to base your buy/sell decisions on actual market conditions and not on projections [****]
  • El mar y las campanas (The Sea and the Bells), Pablo Neruda – when in Chile…from the Nobel Literature prize winning poet-turned-diplomat [****]

December 2008

  • The Audacity of Hope, Barrack Obama – inspiring, bold discussion of all the difficult topics politicians face, including race, family, values, and the downfalls of partisan ideology; will give you even more hope for the next 4 years [*****]

November 2008

  • Economics: Making Sense of the Modern Economy, Simon Cox of The Economist – excellent introduction to modern economics, including globalization, global housing crisis, rise of China, and capital flows [****]
  • Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar, Thomas Cathcart & Daniel Klein – an entertaining introduction to philosphy [***]
  • Epidemiology: An Introduction, Kenneth J. Rothman – great introductory material

June 2008

  • The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith – formed theoretical framework of market economics

May 2008

  • The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho – simple & inspiring [****]
  • The 4-Hour Workweek, Timothy Ferriss – revolutionized my approach to work through automation, outsourcing, elimination of waste and prioritization [****]

March 2008

  • Development as Freedom, Amartya Sen – Fundamentally broadened my view of development. If you don’t have the time, at least read the introduction and first 3 chapters. [*****]

February 2008

  • End of Poverty, Jeffrey Sachs – A great introduction to the economic optimist’s approach to fixing global poverty. Read White Man’s Burden by Easterly for a well-rounded perspective. [****]

8 responses to “Book Log

  1. Pingback: Book Log « singularity

  2. Yeah! Alchemist got 4 stars! Glad you liked it. I’ll work on another great one for this Christmas…

  3. I need to do this too. In fact, I think I will. Well, that settles it. Thanks.

  4. Pingback: singularity

  5. Pingback: Reading Challenge « singularity

  6. Jon, this is great. Have you looked into documenting this on GoodReads too?

    Why not, every once in a while, read something completely random and uncharacteristic, like “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime” by Mark Haddon or something by Fannie Flagg or Eudora Welty?

  7. Kate, Not a huge fan of GoodReads, although some tool like that would be nice. I’ll look into it. Regarding random and uncharacteristic books, I really should read more of those, but my bookshelf is already stacked. Give me a good review, though, and I’m on it.

  8. Jon. Very cool. I’ll think of something that you might like and get back to you. I fully encourage and support this challenge. Blizzum.

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